Fool Me Once

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There is no question we are just beginning to pull out of the massive economic downturn due, in large part, to the incompetency of President Barrack Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush. In 2002 President Bush famously misquoted the idiom: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me, by instead saying “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me…. You can’t get fooled again.”. The Bush policies, most notably his massive tax cuts, eroded the economic growth spurred by Bill Clinton before him. History has shown more of the same.

Fool me once. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan introduced his first massive tax cut Reagan’s theory of “trickle down” economics provided the rich with tax breaks and in the hope they would create jobs and economic growth for the middle class. How’d that work out? The national debt tripled under Reagan’s administration. Almost 30 years have passed and instead of trickling down, the rich kept the money and we all suffered. Shame on you.

Fool me twice. In 2001 and 2003 President Bush enacted the Bush tax cuts — $3.9 trillion over the course of 10 years, all “paid for” with deficit spending. In 1980, the top marginal tax rate for an individual was 70%; today, it’s 35%. Those in the lowest marginal tax rate for an individual only saw a decrease from 14% to 10% over the same period.

Not only are the rich getting the tax cuts, they are increasing their wealth compared to the rest of the country. Four years after Bush’s second tax cut saw the top 5% of taxpayer’s increase their income by 7% while everyone else was left behind with no change in income whatsoever.  That same year, the top 1% took in 50% of the United States total earnings.

Reagan’s former budget director David Stockman, who helped construct Reagan’s financial policy, railed current-day Republicans for blowing a gigantic hole in the deficit with the Bush tax cuts. “I’ll never forgive the Bush administration” for “destroying the last vestige of fiscal responsibility that we had in the Republican Party.” The former trickle-down proponent also said we need “a higher tax burden on the upper income.” How could anyone believe tax cuts for the rich would still work is baffling, but the public bought in and Bush was soon re-elected in 2004. Shame on me.

Fool me thrice. Slowly we are emerging from a recession. The Bush tax cuts are set to expire on December 31st and there is a President in office who has pledged to let them expire for the top 2% of earners, or those making over $250,000. Yet, all of a sudden the GOP has blocked the extension of benefits to those who are unemployed and are clamoring to extend the Bush tax cuts. A little ironic considering that many of those who are unemployed may be a direct result of those massive tax cuts for the rich. Instead the GOP is holding America hostage by refusing unemployment benefits until the ridiculous Bush tax policies are continued. The unemployment benefits that would be allowed to expire cost $33 billion, but now 15 million out-of-work Americans get nothing until the “compromise” recently formed is passed through the senate.  This “compromise” would provide $700 billion for those already earning over $250,000. $700 billion to the rich and almost nothing to the poor is so backwards it would be almost comical if it were not actually happening. Of course, this also comes at a time when a newly released CBS poll shows that only 26% of those polled wished to continue the Bush Tax Cuts for everyone and 53% wanted them to continue for those earning less than $250,000. Even more shocking is a majority of Republicans favor letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire for the wealthiest 2% with only 46% voicing support.  The idea that these hurtful Tax Cuts are being allowed to continue is utterly ridiculous. The GOP is hurting America with its refusal to acknowledge that massive tax cuts for the rich just don’t work and are playing Scrooge by ignoring the masses of unemployed. It’s miserly of them, especially so close to Christmas. At least Obama has the heart to play the Santa Claus to 15 million unemployed Americans by working in the extension of unemployment benefits for another year. Well Merry Christmas GOP, you’ve yet again forced us to buy a present we can’t afford. If these tax policies pass through the Senate, and it appears they will, then shame on U.S.

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